Analysis: Bin Salman shows his true colors executing 81 in a single day

Analysis: Bin Salman shows his true colors executing 81 in a single day

Amnesty International has already condemned the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, saying that a large number of trials, including of political dissidents and critics of the government, have resulted in death sentences in very unfair circumstances. Amnesty International said some of those executed had done nothing but peacefully expressing their criticism of the government.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): While the world is busy with Ukraine developments, Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed 81 men, all in a single day.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) confirmed the news, saying 7 Yemenis and a Syrian were also executed in the absolutely-ruled monarchy's largest modern history execution.

Saudi authorities tried to justify the move, accusing the victims of "deviant" thoughts.

SPA, the official news agency, quoted the interior minister as saying that 37 of those executed were Saudi nationals convicted of trying to assassinate security forces and target police checkpoints and convoys, and a number of expats. In justifying the unprecedented move, the Saudi interior minister also claimed that the executed people were following a "deviant ideology" that he said was intended to serve members of groups opposed to the country, including ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Yemen's Ansarullah Movement, a force resisting Saudi aggression on Yemen.

The executions took place as human rights groups say many detainees are not being treated fairly and that charges such as assassination attempts and links to terrorism thave become a means of eliminating dissidents and protesters. Two months ago, an international legal organization confirmed a 148-percent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia by 2021.

Reactions to the execution

Amnesty International has already condemned the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, saying that a large number of trials, including of political dissidents and critics of the government, have resulted in death sentences in very unfair circumstances. Amnesty International said some of those executed had done nothing but peacefully expressing their criticism of the government.

In the modern history of the country, there are only three similar cases of mass executions. In 2019, 37 people were beheaded in a mass execution, and in January 2016, a similar sentence was carried out for 47 people. Before that, the record high was in 1980 when 63 people were executed in a single day for armed seizure of Masjid Al-Haram.

Despite the unprecedented nature of the move, Western media chose to turn a blind eye and their best reactions were brief news stories.

However, the reactions in the region have been significant. The Committee for the Affairs of the Yemeni Prisoners condemned the crime, emphasizing that it will have serious consequences for Riyadh and that there should be no silence to it.

Ali al-Daylami, the acting minister of human rights in Sana'a-based National Salvation Government (NSG) told Al-Mayadeen news network that Saudi Arabia exploited the world obsession with Ukraine developments for mass execution.

"The Saudi disregard of lives of the Yemenis is not covered to anyone. The Yemeni prisoners are just illegal migrants who are tortured and handed heaviest verdicts in the courts in absence of lawyers.

Dhayfullah al-Shami, the NSG's minister of information, described the execution of 81 young people as a "huge crime against humanity."

"These crimes are ordered by the Americans and this disclosed the invalidity of pro-democracy rhetoric of the West. Everyone knows that Bin Salman would not even go on a vacation without the American green light," he continued.

Iraqi Asaib Ahl Al-Haq Secretary-General Qais al-Khazali said Saudi Arabia executed tens of people for largely heinous sectarian reasons.

"We condemn the systemic sectarian behavior of the Saudi government," he added.

Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades Secretary-General Abu Alaa al-Wilaee was another Iraqi figure to react, suggesting the Arab kingdom takes advantage of the global focus on Ukraine war.

Nasr al-Shomari, the spokesman to Iraq's Al-Nujaba Movement, held that Riyadh continues its rights violations through these executions.

A Saudi opposition figure said that the recent execution was ordered by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is seeking political objective behind the move. Ali al-Ahmad continued that 42 out of 81 were activists from the Shiite-majority Al-Qatif and Al Awamiyah cities. The Saudi citizens were charged with affiliation with ISIS and the Yemenis were charged with assisting Yemen's Ansarullah to flag targets inside the kingdom.

Bin Salman shows true colors

There is little doubt that the executions were orderd directly by bin Salman. Since assumption of power, Prince Mohammed has cracked down on his opponents to smoothly and comfortably ascend the throne after his father King Salman.

He tries to put up a modernist face and this pushed him in recent years to a series of show moves like allowing women to drive and laying plans for modern cities under Saudi Vision 2030. But he is at the same time not afraid to execute 81 young men at once, regardless of how starkly this move contradicts his liberal slogans.

The execution of 81 people in a single day in a country where bin Salman dreams of becoming king will send a clear message to his domestic opponents. It is as if bin Salman had learned the law well in Saudi Arabia, that you need bloodshed in order to achieve maximum power. He loudly told his opponents that he is resolved and can execute as many as 81 in just one day. The crown prince with his unprecedented action has sent a strong warning to his opponents to rest assured no opposition voices would rise against him.

The young crown prince is also accused by his Western allies, including the US, of killing outspoken journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The assassination still haunts him after 5 years. But he executed 81 in defiance of his Western and American friends. By the mass executions, he wants to make it crystal clear to the West that despite criticism, human rights have no place in his current and future calculations.

The news was circulated so fast by the kingdom's media in an intentional way. It was obvious that the propagandistic aspect of the move was important to Riyadh rulers. This is the only reason the local media massively published the news and focused on it, fearless of the consequences. It was like bin Salman wished to assert that even Western rights criticism is senseless for him and he is resolved to take his father's seat, even if his taking the power means a great disgrace for the West.




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